Skip to main content

Grateful Dead Live at RFK Stadium on 1986-07-07

Audio Preview

Grateful Dead Live at RFK Stadium on 1986-07-07

Set 1

Ramble On Rose
New Minglewood Blues
It Must Have Been The Roses
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
Desolation Row

Set 2

Box Of Rain
Playing In The Band ->
Terrapin Station ->
Drums ->
Space ->
The Other One ->
Wharf Rat ->
Around And Around ->
Good Lovin'

(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue RFK Stadium
Location Washington, DC

Source In-House FM -> FM Receiver -> Cassette Master (Sony TC-D6C/Denon HD-M90) D
Lineage Cassette Master (Nakamichi DR-1) -> Sound Devices 744T (24bit/48k) ->
Transferred by Charlie Miller


Patch Info:
(FOB) Schoeps CMC3/MK4 -> PCM -> Dat -> CD supplies:
Desolation Row (set break announcement)
Space (0:14 - 0:55)

-- Thanks to Dan Gale for lending me his masters
-- It's All Over Now, Baby Blue and Desolation Row with Bob Dylan
-- Some FM static in Box Of Rain and Wharf Rat
-- I cleaned up as much of the static as possible


Reviewer: c-freedom - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 30, 2016
Subject: Take you to the leader of the band...
I was at this show and it was a real peach.
Yes, the first set was short but remember Petty and the Heart-breakers opened. Also after Dylan came out- my take was everyone was pretty much blown away by Baby Blue and Desolation Row so not much need to play anything else. (i am almost positive that the 1987 summer tour was hatched between sets of this show.)
To the show itself:
Ramble on Rose-Opening a set with this is pretty rare. From the Archives i remember hearing it a couple of times once with the intro by Wolfman Jack.
This ROR is fine , great opener.
Bobby tears into Minglewood- D.C. phillies start looking good!!!Nice slash and burn from Brent here. Good slide work! Garcia playing his butt off far as I can hear. Pop those strings!
There is a little buzz probably from the F.M. feed nothing major just audible between tunes.
THE ROSES-Come on now how sweet is this tune???
I pretty much swayed to and fro anytime they played this...
From this point on a solid show became a historic show. Dylan was like an enigma, as I have said before ENCINO MAN had nothing on Bob Dylan.
I am not sure how he does it but when he starts out I am completely annoyed with his vocals, it is like he is scratching a blackboard with his nails, but the more he gets going he finds the groove and before you know it wham he has got the whole stadium going.
I wonder if the IMHBTR drew Dylan out, it was pretty sweet. "We got a friend to help Out on this tune"
I had this thing about BABY BLUE it would really shake me up, Can't put my finger on it, Somehow vaguely apocalyptic, it was almost like a song which made me question TOURING but at the same time made me want to tour just the same. Oh the insanity of youth!
With this song you have to listen to the rhythm Dylan lays down before he even sings towards the last chorus, He is just shotgunning licks , fills in the empty spaces and then some. I can hear Garcia smiling as Dylan jumps in with the backing vocals. REMEMBER GARCIA HAS BEEN SINGING THIS DYLAN TUNE SINCE THE CRACK OF DAWN.
Bob Weir really does justice to Desolation Row. You know the sheer amount of verses to this tune are quite an undertaking. Here Weir is singing with Dylan shadowing his vocals. And if you listen nobody has any clue when Dylan is going to grab a verse or just shadow Weir or just sit back and let Weir do it.
"Noah's great Rainbow" Weir is trying to draw Dylan out but Dylan is so freaking abstract here.
I really thought the 1987 summer tour would be more in this style where Dylan would be an equal participant with the Grateful Dead so I guess I was thrown by having the Dead being Dylan's backup band.
"Get out of here if you don't know!!!"
man, that's good stuff, when you can get both Jerry and Bobby laughing during their tunes you are doing great.
Dylan made a commitment to start getting serious about his tunes again. I would like to think that the Grateful Dead played a part in all that Dylan resurgence that followed.
I saw him open for the Dead in Columbus with Joan Osbourne and Dylan had totally reinvented himself yet again as a cowboy in white.
Truthfully, I think the boys just wanted to hang with Dylan between sets so Set 1 is over.

Set Two
BOX OF RAIN-tune was still pretty new on the comeback trail at this point. To me it was like a dream come true that they were playing this again. I really like hearing Phil sing. Why? Because I LOVE THE GRATEFUL DEAD and Phil singing is part of the trip!!!Him singing this tune loosened him up to sing on a bunch of stuff.
Taking verses on Maggie's Farm and The Weight.
and just throwing in backing vocals which were a large part of the Dead's music in the early years.
This is a strong BOX, there is a point in the tune where you almost have to swim upstream and it takes maximum effort for the musicians to navigate it, something about the way Phil writes his tunes, but BOX OF RAIN has that one point near the end where the tune can wreck if the band doesn't handle it just right.
The PLAYING IN THE BAND is really strong. I can hear PHIL all over it with his bass.
Transition nice into TERRAPIN they don't spend all day on the P.I.T.B. Jerry does not seem to focused on the lyrics but if you notice he channels his effort into the guitar.
Was he feeling the Diabetic Coma? Could be I am dealing with this stuff and trust me it's a bear, a huge grizzly bear.
But to me the Grateful Dead were flying high and when JERRY went down after this show I was blown away. Now when Brent passed I looked back and thought wow now that all made sense. Because Brent was operating on an out of body level that could not continue. But Garcia at this point I was thinking I had just seen one of the best shows of my life and all was good with the world.
Garcia recovers well with the later part of Terrapin on the vocals.
You know I ended up having my own issues after the show. I got seriously dehydrated .Ended up getting on People Express with NO MONEY.
That did not go very well at all. Won't bore you with the details. Anyway, somehow got on the plane with no shoes...
Listening to drumz which truthfully the only part of drumz that interests me usually is when they beat the heck out of the big drums.
Nothing like slam dancing in mosh pit to Drumz!
You know if you look at the amount of tunes and the time spent on each tune it is easy to see why people could think this was a light weight show but honestly time just kinda stood still in my mind. There was not a lot of drift to this show just pretty straight ahead music.
The Little space jam after Drumz tips me off right away that they are heading for the Other One. Phil pounding it!
Jerry coming across strong on the Other One.
The band is so jazzed from the Dylan encounter!
Chula Vista Cruiser right out of the gate.
Everybody on board, Brent slashing!!!
See when they are on it just all lines up.
How do you explain that to somebody?
Wow, big change of direction into WHARF RAT notice they swing that transition in a hurry.
Jerry actually sounding pretty good.
He is not wandering thru the tune
he just sings it.
Like that Weir is coming in for
the backing vocals.
The boys really nail
"The life i am living is no good"
get a giant roar from us!!!
"I will get a new start
Live the life i should"
How prophetic is this tune in hindsight!!!
This again not the longest WHARF RAT but I love the tempo,,, it's actually DANCE MATERIAL!
Around x2 -If you weren't dancing by this point you were medically unable to do so.
Slamming right into GOOD LOVIN'
Bobby goes out on a limb for GOOD LOVIN'
Can feel JERRY smile with the backing vocals!

E) This was my first SATISFACTION
The sound is very nice
and to me this was easily in the top ten of shows
that I saw live...
"No Fu@king Way"
"Oh Fu@k it"
We would like to thank...
great band intro's by Bobby!!!
and then JERRY get's the last word.

Reviewer: DMT - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 9, 2014
Subject: ...the time doorknob broke
great "Desolation Row". five stars for that and "Baby Blue"
Reviewer: jamgol66 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 1, 2014
Subject: Satisfaction
Great version as Bobby introduces the band
Reviewer: Discmen65 - favoritefavoritefavorite - June 18, 2013
Subject: Not bad
I was at this show, enjoyed it then, and enjoyed it today. It was a boiling hot day indeed. Don't really understand the vitriol towards the show. They aren't in anything close to top form, but considering the circumstances, it is okay. I actually really like Jer's voice, and he is certainly not just hitting random notes. I have heard much worse. And Dylan's voice is pretty great, if you like Dylan. In all the years I've been seeing him, this might be his most understandable.
Reviewer: jjg4762 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 26, 2013
Subject: Not a bad show. 4 stars cause sound is good
Ok for sure. I remember thinking maybe they were going to end the tour with a 3rd set Dylan/Dead.Wishfull thinking at the time,yet I think Dylan sounds worse then Jerry and he was on the verge of his Coma. So he sure gave it his best shot. That man was a trooper threw and threw.Must say I did not like the 90's sound but Jerry sure tried day and day out. I will be forever thankfull to them for the years and years & YEARSSSSSSS of joy that brought me live in person let alone the ongoing listening here. Thank you again for your hard work on this site.
Reviewer: Beuff125 - favoritefavoritefavorite - March 14, 2013
Subject: Weary but Strong!
"Jerry and the boys are playing away and there's Bob Dylan up there sounding like a 3 year old with an electric guitar. When he finally kicks in vocally, it is about 180 degrees off in terms of emotion for the tune."

You need to re-listen. Baby Blue and Desolation Row are amazing. Maybe the musicianship isn't spot on, but the energy and fun coming from that stack was way out there... Bob Dylan chiming in on the 3rd verse of Baby Blue is CLASSIC, not lame.
Weird time for the Dead but the energy on Baby Blue, Desolation Row & Satisfaction is worth this D/L (stream) alone.
Reviewer: MartinsvilleKid - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 10, 2012
Subject: First show, best show!
Thanks Charlie and Dan! I am so grateful this is here, I am here, I was there. We were laughing that Dylan was wearing black leather pants in the sauna, and got saucer eyed at the nearly-naked goddesses all running through the mud. The hairy guy that jumped on stage was naked. Poor cops were sweating. Crazy firehoses. Couldn't beat the parking lot, what with the gravel all etched in skeletons and streetsigns hanging like apples from the pear trees (it was a long drive). Many thanks to the bearded hippy from Havard. So, my first family reunion was my last for awhile - harsh. But, Bob serenaded full throated-hearted that day and Brent and the boys pounded waves through the bobbing crowd, and I think every single body there knew how to surf by the end. And Jerry, well, he sent his soul soaring that day. I saw it, damn near filled the whole stadium with his face; he started screaming right at Baby Blue and didn't let up 'til I did. Do they get better? Maybe for you. ;)
Reviewer: jackaroe_RI - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 29, 2012
Subject: Dylan & Dead 86
I had been thinking about this show for some reason and went back to listen to it again. It was from a discussion on a different board claiming Jerry never fully recovered from the coma musically. So I listened to a bunch of before and afters when I recalled this pairing of two troubled bands. Dyaln was at a low point in his career and Jerry has already been mentioned.

To those people who are not big Dylan fans I can see why they think it's awful. But Baby Blue and Desolation row were performed purposely by Dylan as a direct message that Jerry would listen too- the music. He was showing Jerry how royally f#@$%^@ they both were health wise and something had to change or someone was going to die. Listen closely to the end of Baby Blue how Dylan is refraining " Yeah , that's right it's ALL OVER now" where even Phil jumps in.
That's long enough but desolation row has its own inflections and discordance as the tour is over and Bob Dylan knows he may very well be saying goodbye to Jerry for the last time.
Reviewer: Folkhippy - favorite - April 10, 2012
Subject: Wow...
To say that Jerry was "near death" at this show is certainly no understatement. Only days away from his diabetic coma, Jerry is playing at his absolute worst here. Many point to his last two years with regard to his worst performances, but at least he could keep the beat and pull off the occasional magical solo, even in 1995 (may I refer you to 5-26 for a kick ass night). Here, JG is stumbling through every song, even playing solos and fills at the wrong position on his guitar. He doesn't appear to have the strength to slide his hand up the neck. The random and abrupt announcement of a "break" after Desolation Row is met by audible cries of "NO!" from the crowd. Dylan is pretty bad here, but the whole band is falling apart. I managed to listen to Terrapin the whole way through; it was more like "Lady Hit the Fan." Jerry is just randomly playing notes within the key changes.

I'm glad he was able to recover and come back strong to bring us another few years of incredible tunes (1987-1991).
Reviewer: E.R.C. Iceman! - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 19, 2011
Subject: EPIC INTRO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Weir's band introduction during "Satisfaction" is FUCKING GREAT! What a CLASSIC piece of Dead history. I was there and remember it well!!!!!!!
Reviewer: ginger6023 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 21, 2009
Subject: cow pasture
It was 98 degrees in a windless stadium. The staff sprayed the crowd with water to cool people off.
It smelled like a cow pasture.
At the start of Baby Blue, they threw Bob Dylan Threw the curtains onto the stage, as it appears, he had some hesitancy on coming out.
-Funny as shit. It happened about 1 minute into the song. Very memorable.
Reviewer: revjustin - favoritefavorite - June 9, 2009
Subject: Interesting from a GD Historical Perspective
I have been reading "Dark Star: an oral biography of Jerry Garcia" and just finished the section that deals with Garcia's 1986 coma. This particular show was the one that directly preceded his hospitalization and marked the end of a very long period of isolation and heroin use. He was basically living in Rock Scully's basement apartment smoking Persian all day, nodding off, and coming close to setting himself on fire from accidentally dropping lit cigarettes. His physical state was terrible, having been declared close to death by a doctor who examined him.

Listening to this show, I have to admit that compared to his later decline in the mid 90's, I was shocked that Jerry was able to keep it together this much at the show. He had been working on getting himself together by this point, but even still, considering he had an infection in an impacted wisdom tooth at the time, he plays and sings pretty well. Not that this show is a pinnacle of achievement for the Dead. It's a short, some-what lackluster show, with the definite low point being the appearance of Bob Dylan on the stage for the Baby Blue and Desolation Row. Its seems as if Bob had no idea how to play his own tunes. Listening to his attempts at "playing" guitar is not even amusing. Jerry and the boys are playing away and there's Bob Dylan up there sounding like a 3 year old with an electric guitar. When he finally kicks in vocally, it is about 180 degrees off in terms of emotion for the tune. The Dead are playing it in the usual, almost melancholy way and Dylan comes in like he's kicking out the jams rock and roll style. It's like the man was physically there, but mentally he was playing another show in another city, in another time. To put it bluntly, Dylan was awful.

Having read his own accounts of this period and his tours with the Dead, he was having difficulty remembering his older tunes and was struggling a lot with trying to express himself the way he wanted to. It shows here.

I gave the show two stars because of it's historical value and because that despite Dylan's mess making, Jerry and the Boys are able to bring it together.
info Stream Only
Stream playlist
( VBR )
In Collection
Grateful Dead
In Collection
Live Music Archive
on 3/21/2008
SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata)
Date Archived
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 4,853
favorite 5
comment 2
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 2 reviews )
Source: SBD -> Master Cassette -> CD
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 4,478
favorite 10
comment 1
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Source: SBD -> Cassette Master -> Cassette -> Dat (48k) D
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 2,090
favorite 7
comment 1
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Source: SBD -> Dat -> CD
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 6,818
favorite 8
comment 10
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 10 reviews )
Source: SBD -> Dat -> CD
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 5,054
favorite 12
comment 6
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 6 reviews )
Source: SBD -> Cassette Master (Sony D5/TDK MX-XG90/Dolby B)
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 3,932
favorite 3
comment 2
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 2 reviews )
Source: In-house FM > Portable FM Receiver > Cassette Master (Sony TC-D6C)
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 16,902
favorite 21
comment 8
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 8 reviews )
Source: SBD -> Master Reel -> Dat -> CD D
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 7,172
favorite 10
comment 12
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 12 reviews )
Source: SBD -> Cassette Master -> ? -> Cassette -> CD
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 8,890
favorite 19
comment 6
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 6 reviews )
Source: WBCN Pre-FM -> Studer Console -> Master Reel -> Dat/0 (Sony ES/48k) D
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 2,906
favorite 2
comment 3
favoritefavoritefavorite ( 3 reviews )
Source: Set 1: SBD -> Dat -> Cassette Master -> Dat -> CD DSet 2: SBD -> Dat -> CD D